Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Campaign Armies

Having decided how to run the campaign, the next problem was how to organise the armies. The most important consideration was to use all of the model soldiers (see 25mm model soldiers) as often as possible. I also wanted to have evenly matched armies, but to have subtle difference between different nationalities. I wanted to avoid "super armies" (for example the British) who would be so strong that they would win all battles. Or alternatively such weak armies (for example Spanish) who would automatically lose every battle. There is not much fun commanding an army that is bound to lose.

I wanted each game to give all players an equal chance of winning. This might be achieved by allowing the weaker army to start in a strong defensive position, or it might mean three weak corps against two stronger ones.

There are 9 armies (see 28mm model soldiers), and each has its own order of battle. Each is different, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. We will examine just one in detail, the Second French army.


There are 6 commanders in each army (except the Spanish who do not have a reserve). The reserve commander is available to command a cavalry or artillery reserve created by the army commander. The cavalry or artillery are withdrawn form their parent corps and placed in the reserve. This must be done before the game starts.

There are three grades of commander
French armies tend to be have better commanders (1 Gifted, 4 Average, 1 Poor).
Russians are less talented (3 Average, 3 Poor).
The poor Spanish are the worse of all (1 Average, 4 Poor - no reserve).


Infantry have three fighting capabilities.
Class (C) - represents morale and determination
Firepower (F) - effective masses musket volleys
Skirmish ability (S)

Each ability is graded
A - best
B - average
C - poor

Each army has a general ability for their infantry. For example the French are average class, poor firepower and good skirmish ability. This does not mean that all of their infantry have A class skirmish, but they have a higher proportion than Russian infantry, who are only average at skirmishing. On the other hand the Russians have good class, and the French only average class.


Cavalry have two fighting abilities
Class - same as infantry
Type - heavy, medium, light, lancers and cossacks


Artillery have two fighting abilities
Class - same as infantry
Type - 12, 9 and 6 pounder - different ranges

Corps Ability

Each of the four corps have different abilities, usually the first corps is the strongest, and the fourth the weakest. A corps which is strong in infantry, will often have weak cavalry or artillery.

Within the corps the first infantry brigade will usually be the best, the fourth brigade the weakest.

When planning the battle it is often a good idea to use the reserve commander to group cavalry or artillery for a particular task. However this will leave one or more corps weaker in either cavalry or artillery.


  1. I have been reading your blog with considerable interest. Although not a particular fan of the Napoleonic era, your enthusiasm is infectious, and I am giving serious thought to getting my collection of Napoleonic troops out of their storage boxes (where they have been 'resting' since they were painted) and organising them along the lines that you have outlined.

    I like fighting larger-scale actions, and most rules for the Napoleonic period seem to favour brigade or divisional level games whereas your 'system' seems much more in line with both the size of table that I have and number of figures that I own.

    Many thanks for what you have written so far; I shall continue to follow your blog with interest.

  2. Hi Bob

    I have replied by email direct, but not sure if you received it. I have just figured out how to add to comments, so here goes:

    The napoleonic period has always been my firm favourite. And I would love to think that I might encourage you back to the best period!

    Jan and I use our own "house rules". They are strongly influenced by LFS, but heavily amended for use with our collection of figures. I am reluctant to publish them, as rules are a sure fire way to start disagreements. However if there is enought interest I might publish them on the blog.

    Thanks for taking the trouble to post.

  3. I found your site via TMP and I will be interested to see how your campaign develops. Good luck with your gaming, especially when using the 6mm Napoleonics, which is the scale I use.

  4. Hi TWR

    Thanks for your comments.

    I often think that 6mm is the best scale for Napoleonic wargames. I even bought a set of Heroics and Ros figures. However I find it hard to move away from my first love - 25/28mm

    I hope to publish the first battle reports soon, hope you like them.


  5. Hi,
    I have been trying to figure out your figure ratio. It looks that each 8 infantry figures (4 bases) represent a brigade. I am curious, you say that LFS has influenced your rules: How?

    I will follow your blog.


  6. Hi John

    When I said that LFS had influenced me a lot, I did not mean in relation to the size of brigades.

    They are the most recent commercial rules I have used. We played with them for about two years, and I like a lot of the game mechanics.

    However they are designed for corps sized battles, and I wanted to do multi corps battles.

    The brigade sizes were dictated by the number of painted figures that I already had. The 8 figure brigade suits me, but it is not essential. You could use any number of figures, the base sizes are not important.


  7. I, too, have come accross your blog from TMP.

    I'm new to Napoleonics, having just started my collection with some of the plastic sets from the Perry brothers.

    I am initially organising my forces along the lines of the TFL "Sharpe Practice" rules, but I'd like to be able to use the same miniatures for larger battles.

    I also don't want to spend a fortune, and the rest of my natural life, collecting and painting these miniatures before I finally get a game in.

    Your blog is great, and quite inspirational. Keep up the great work!


  8. Hi Greg

    Thanks for your kind comments.

    I have not yet played "Sharpes Practice", but if its as good as "LFS" it will be very good indeed.

    I think its a great idea to use the same figures for both skirmish and greand tactical games.

    If I can be of any help to let me know.



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